Skip to main content

Full text of "Hand-book of wood engraving"

See other formats

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 
to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 
publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 

We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at http : //books . google . com/| 

d by Google 


^ — ^ 

.{^ . -^ % 





Received s.y^^l^^^i88:i^ 

Accessions No,^./^J?S3_ Shelf No 


d by Google 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 

d by Google 

d by Google 










^ f btorg of i\t %xi from its ©rigin to i\t ^rtsnit Simt 




■r • t .- 

' ' ' ''\ 

. > « ■ 




' Digitized by Google 



CoprRiGHT, 1881, 
By Lee and Shepard 

A II Rights Reserved. 

d by Google 



List of Illustrations 3 

Introduction 7 

Wood Engraving 

Origin and History 9 

The Process Defined 27 

Kind of Wood used, and how to prepare it, . 28 

Tools and Appliances used 31 

Drawing on the Block 37 

Transfers , , x 42 

Engraving 45 

Lessons in Engraving 48 

Diagrams and Proof-taldng ... 48 

Figure Outlines 50 

Engraving Tints, and Plugging . . 53 

Portraits 59 

Landscapes, Foliage, etc. ... 62 

Flowers, Vegetables, etc 65 

Effective Designs — Silver Ware, Jewelry, 

etc 69 

Fac-simile Pen Work .... 73 
Monograms and Initial Letters . . .73 

Labels and Cards 76 

Buildings 82 

Complicated Machinery .... 84 

Birds and Animals 87 

Color Engraving 88 

Electrotyping 93 

Conclusion 94 



by Google 



1. Egyptian Stamp . . . . * . .10 

2. Monogram of Charlemagne ... 11 

3. Knave of Bells 12 

4. St. Christopher 13 

5. St. John 15 

6. David and Solomon 15 

7. Isaiah and Ezekiel 16 

8. The ProdigaFs Return 16 

9. Armed Knight 17 

10. Tail-piece by Bewick 20 

11. Superstitious Dog, by Bewick .... 22 

12. Drawing on the Block 28 

13. Block Engraved 28 

14. Boxwood Log in Sections .... 29 

15. Back View of Bolted Block .... 29 

16. Section showing Bolts 29 

17. Dowelled Block 30 

18. Amalgamated Block 30 

19. Set of Gravers 31 

20. Set of Tint-tools 32 

21. Set of Scoopers 32 

22. Set of Chisels 32 

23. Graver ready for Use . . . . . 33 


Digitized byLnOOQlC 



24. Cut engraved with One Tool ... 33 

25. Engraving-pad 3.5 

26. Shade for the Eyes 35 

27. Eye-glass and Stand .35 

28. Angle at which Tools should be Ground . 36 

29. Ink-dabber .36 

30. Oil-stone 36 

31. Burnisher 36 

32. Chip Brush 37 

33. Saw for cutting off Plugs . . . .37 

34. Pumice-stone 38 

35. Chinese White 38 

36. Indian Ink 40 

37. Tracing-point 40 

38. Pencil-dividers 40 

30. -T Square 41 

40. Parallel Rule 41 

41. Transfer Material 42 

42. Pantograph 44 

43. Engraver at Work 45 

44. Manner of holding Block .... 46 

45. Manner of holding Block .... 46 

46. Apparatus used for Night Work ... 47 

47. Diagrams 49 

48. Diagrams 49 

49. Figure Outlined 60 

60. Figure Finished 50 

51. Outline of Face 51 

52. Outline of Figure 52 

5.3. Light Thit 64 

54. Dark Tint 54 

55. Graduated Tint 55 

66. Cloud Tint 55 

57. Section of Block, showing Plug . . .58 

d by Google 



58. Method of lowering Plug .... 58 

59. Portrait of Man 60 

60. Portrait of Girl 61 

61. Wood Scene 63 

62. Rocks and Water 64 

63. Bouquet of Flowers 66 

64. Basket of Flowers 67 

65. Squash 68 

66. Ear of Corn 68 

67. Design in Wliite 69 

68. Design in Black 69 

69. Effective Design 70 

70. Effective Design 70 

71. Effective Design in Silver . . . .71 

72. Effective Design in Silver .... 71 

73. Effective Design in Jewelry . . . .72 

74. Pen Work. Design 74 

75. Fine Autograph . . . . . .74 

76. Coarse Autograph 74 

77-85. Monograms and Initials . . . .75 

86. Label 76 

87. Show-card 77 

88. Cooking Stove 78 

89. Parlor Stove 79 

90. Furniture 80 

91. Organ 80 

92. Building 83 

93. Engine ........ 85 

94. Machine Broken Away .... 86 

95. Bird 87 

96. Animals . 88 

97. The Color Circle 91 

96. Tail-piece ....... 95 

d by Google 


\0T many books have been written 
on the subject of Wood Engrao- 
ing^ and these chiefly relate to the 
history of the art, being of little 
practical value to persons wishing 
to learn to engrave. 
The unusual favor with which the first edition 
of this work was received by amateurs encour- 
ages the belief that a more complete and en- 
larged work might not be unacceptable, and it 
is with this belief that this book is presented to 
the public. 

In its preparation great pains have been taken 
both by explanation and illustration to make the 
subject clear and comprehensive, and to give 
directions for the practice of the art so that a be- 
ginner may be enabled to learn the first principles. 

d by Google 


It is not reasonable to suppose that a book of 
this kind, however full and complete, will take 
the place of a good teacher, but if for any reason 
a person desires to make a beginning without a 
master, he will be enabled to do so by heeding 
its directions. 

Not only is it intended for such as would gain 
a livelihood by engraving, but also for those who 
would employ their time in a delightful and 
profitable manner in the service of art. That 
this work may be more desirable for those who 
wish to make themselves familiar with the His- 
tory of the art as well as its practice, a short 
epitome of its history is introduced accompanied 
by fac simile illustrations of early wood engrav- 

d by Google 

N^ (.F THE '/^ NX 



art of wood engraving is of 
Bat antiquity, and was practised 
an early period, although in a 
ide state. It is supposed to 
ve originated with the Chinese, 
10 made impressions on paper 
from wood blocks, as early as 1120 B. C. 

Wood stamps, with engraved hieroglyphic 
characters, were also used by the early Egyptians, 
for making impressions on bricks and other ar- 
ticles made of clay. This fact was established 
beyond doubt by the discovery of stamps of this 
character in the tombs at Thebes, Meroe, and 
other places. 

The following cut represents the face of one of 
those stamps, which was found in a tomb at 
Thebes. It has an arched handle at the back, 
and is of an oblong figure, with the ends rounded 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


o£F. It is five inches long and two and a quarter 

The figures are cut in, so that their impression 
on clay would produce raised characters on a 
flat ground. 

Fig. 1. 

Several bricks are on exhibition in the British 
Museum, which were found on the site of ancient 
Babylon, bearing impressions of characters or 
marks made while in a soft state by the use of 
stamps. Various domestic utensils and orna- 
mental articles made of clay, and of Roman 
workmanship, have also been found impressed 
with characters supposed to indicate the potter's 
name, or that of the owner. 

Von Murr, in his Journal on the Art of Wood 
Engi-aving, in speaking of the Romans, says: 
"Letters cut on wood they certainly had, and 
very likely grotesques and figures also, the hint 
of which their artists might readily obtain from 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


the colored stuffs which were frequently presented 
by Indian ambassadors to the emperors." 

Impressions, from wood and metal stamps, 
of monograms, signatures, etc., for signing docu- 
ments, impressed in a manner similar to that in 
which letters are postmarked at the present day, 
are in existence. Among the first of these are 
the monograms used for this. purpose by Pope 
Adrian I. and Charlemagne. 

Fig. 2. Monogram op Charlemagne. 

The principle upon which the art of wood 
engraving is founded, that of taking impressions 
on paper with ink from engraved blocks, ^ppt.- 
known and practised in attesting documents in 
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; and 
about the beginning of the fifteenth century the 
principle was adopted by German card-makers 
for printing outline figures on their cards. Fig. 3 
is a fac simile specimen. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 



Fig. 3. Knave of Bells. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


It was next applied to religious subjects. The 
monks availed themselves of the same principle 
to represent the figures of saints. One of the 
.earliest of these is in the collection of Earl Spen- 
cer, and was discovered in one of the most ancient 
convents of Germany, pasted within the cover of 
a Latin manuscript. It represents St. Christopher 
carrying the infant Saviour across the sea, and is 
dated 1423. Fig. 4 is a reduced fojc simile copy 

Pig. 4. St. Christopher. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


of this curious engraving. An engraved inscrip- 
tion accompanying it is thus translated : 

'* In whichever day thou seest the likeness of St. Christopher, 
In that same day thou wilt, at least from death, no evil blow 
incur: — 1423." 

Thus we see the earliest wood-cuts are awarded 
to Germany, most of them being on religious 
subjects, and engraved before the discovery of 
printing by Gutenberg. They were executed in 
a rough style, and many of them colored. 

The next step was the application of the art to 
what is known as block-books, consisting princi- 
pally of devotional subjects, with short engraved 
inscriptions on the same block. Of these " The 
Apocalypsis," "The Historia Virginis," and 
" The Biblia Pauperum," are the most celebrated. 
An interesting account of these is given in " The 
History and Practice of Wood Engraving," a 
valuable standard work by John Jackson. 

The illustrations, of which Mr. Jackson gives 
an elaborate account and several specimens, seem 
to be drawn with a supreme contempt for per- 
spective and proportion, but bear evidence of the 
draperies and hands and faces having been care- 
fully studied. Fig. 5 is a copy of one of the 
cuts in the Apocalypsis, It represents St. John 
preaching to three men and a woman, with the 
inscription, ^'Conversi ab idoliSj per predicatio- 
nem beati JohanniSy Drusiana et ceteris (By 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


the preaching of St, John, Drusiana and others 
are withdrawn from their idols.) 

Fig. 5. 

Figs. 6, 7, and 8 are from an edition of the 
"Poor Preachers Bible," the last work, in a 
volume printed in three parts, by Pfister about 

Fig. 6. 

the year 1462, and known as the " Biblia Pau- 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


They are fac similes of those given by Camus. 
In Fig. 6 the heads are intended to represent 

Fig. 7. 

David and Solomon ; in Fig. 7 Isaiah and Eze- 
kiel; in Fig. 8 the subject represented is the 
Prodigal received by his father. 

Fig. 8. 

d by Google 


Previous to that time whole books of text were 
engraved on wood. But the art was to undergo 
a change. The invention of movable metal type, 
wedged together in an iron frame, was to super- 

Hg. 9. Abmed Knight. 

sede the engraved tjrpe-blocks ; and the impres- 
sion, instead of being taken by the tedious process 
of burnishing, was to be more speedily accom- 
plished by the operation of the printing-press. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


For a few years after the introduction of ty- 
pography the art suffered a temporary decline. 
But it soon revived again. Under the stimulat- 
ing influence of the press engravings multiplied, 
until, from being confined to a few towns, they 
were introduced throughout Europe. 

The publication of illustrated books then be- 
came general in Germany and Italy, reaching 
England in 1476. 

Fig. 9 is interesting, as it represents one of the 
first of the English engravings, from a second 
edition of "The Game and Playe of the Chesse," 
published the same year by Caxton. The en- 
gravings were quite rude, compared with the 
earlier German works. 

About the beginning of the sixteenth century 
a complete revolution in wood engraving was 
accomplished by the genius of Albert Dflrer. 
His productions exhibit correct drawing, a knowl- 
edge of composition, light and shade, and atten- 
tion to the rules of perspective, which elevate 
them to the rank of finished pictures. 

It is thought by the best authorities that there 
is little probability of Dtlrer having engraved his 
own designs, for, in most of the wood-cuts sup- 
posed to have been engraved by him, we find 
cross-hatching freely introduced — easily produced 
by the artist in drawing, but attended with con- 
siderable labor to the engraver. Had he engraved 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


his drawings he would, no doubt, have used 
means to produce effect which would have 
been easier of execution. His illustrations were 
equalled by none of his contemporary artists. 

During the first half of the sixteenth century 
the publication of books illustrated by wood 
engi-avings increased, and prevailed to a greater 
extent than at any other time, with the exception 
of the present day. 

From the beginning of the seventeenth century 
the decline of wood engraving may be dated ; 
Grermany, the cradle of the art, being the first to 
forsake it. From this time the art suffered 
great neglect. 

In 1766 John Michael Papillon, an enthusiastic 
professor of the art in France, made an unsuc- 
cessful attempt to restore it to its former impor- 
tance. It was not until 1790 that the genius of 
Thomas Bewick gave it the impulse which made 
it what it now is. 

Bewick's most important works are his " His- 
tories of British Quadrupeds "(1790) and "British 
Birds" (1804). Many of the figures were drawn 
and engraved by himself. The birds especially 
are executed with a truthfulness and skill which 
have rarely, if ever, been equalled. These 
works are also famous for their collections of 
tail-pieces, which display an infinite amount of 
humor and pathos. Fig. 10 is a reduced copy 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


of one of them — a poor ewe, in the starvation of 
winter, picking at an old broom in front of a 
ruined cot, a scene which tells a woful tale of 

In none of the cuts by Bewick do we find 
cross-hatching introduced. He considered it a 
waste of time, contending that every desired 
effect could be much easier obtained by plain 
parallel lines. 

Fig. 10. 

" I never could discover," he says in his me- 
moir, "any additional beauty or color that the 
crossed strokes gave to the impression beyond 
the effect produced by plain parallel lines. This 
is very apparent when, to a certainty, the plain 
surface of the wood will print as black as ink 
and balls can make it, without any further labor 
at all ; and it may easily be seen that the thinnest 
strokes, cut upon the surface, will throw some 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


light on the subject or design. And if these 
strokes, again, are made still wider, or equal in 
thickness to the black lines, the color these pro- 
duce will bo a gray; and the more the white 
strokes are thickened the nearer will they, in 
their varied shadings, approach to white ; and, 
if quite taken away, then a perfect white is ob- 
tained. The methods I have pursued appear to 
me to be the simple and easy perfection of wood 
engraving for book printing, and, no doubt, will 
appear better or worse according to the ability 
of the artist who executes them." 

The practical good sense thus expressed finds 
its confirmation not only in the cuts of Bewick, 
which are beautiful examples of effect, but also 
in the best engravings of to-day, in which cross- 
hatching is discarded for the simpler and more 
effective methods. 

The largest cut engraved by Bewick was eleven 
and five-eighths inches wide by eight and three- 
fourths inches high. It is entitled " Waiting for 
Death," and was left unfinished when he died. The 
outside dimensions of his other cuts rarely ex- 
ceeded three by six inches, the vignettes generally 
falling short of three inches square. One peculiar- 
ity which distinguishes the work of Bewick and his 
pupil from that of the draughtsmen and engrav- 
ers of the present day, may be expressed in the 
statement that modern draughtsmen regard the 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


block upon which they draw as a white surface ; 
Bewick regarded it as black ; depending largely 
for his effect upon the strength and meaning of 
the white lines. (See Fig. 11.) 

Although not an imaginative artist he was 
quick to detect the humorous side of whatevev 
came under his observation, and what he saw he 

Fig. 11. 

could reproduce with rare fidelity. In his humor- 
ous pieces he displays a fondness for placing his 
figures in awkward or unpleasant situations ; as 
when he represents a horseman entangled in a kite 
string, which the boy who holds must let go or be 
dragged into the stream ; or when he represents an 
old man carrying his young wife across a stream, 
the complaisant look of the sharp-nosed wife, ar- 
rayed in a short petticoat, slipshod, and with her 
heels staring through her stockings, evidently en^ 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


joying the situation, while her husband patiently 
bears his double burden, and with his right hand 
keeps a firm grip on his better-half to prevent her 
from slipping off and into the water ; a keen satire 
on those old men who marry young wives, sub- 
mitting to every indignity to please their youthful 
spouses, and reconcile them to their state. 

It is difficult to estimate the number of cuts 
engraved by Bewick ; but they may be counted 
by thousands. " The British Birds " alone con- 
tain more than five hundred, and " The Quadru- 
peds " more than three hundred. 

The cuts for the latter were engraved at the 
rate of more than one per week, and chiefly by 
night after the day's work in the shop was over. 
He was led to undertake this work from the dis- 
satisfaction he had felt as a child with the wretch- 
edly executed illustrations in a sixpenny History 
of Birds and Beasts, and a publication known as 
the " History of Three Hundred Animals." 

In spite of the confinement incident to his 
calling, Bewick lived to the age of seventy-five, 
occupied up to the very last upon a work in- 
tended to be a " History of British Fishes." 

Jackson in his valuable treatise, after alluding 
to several illustrations in the "British Birds" 
" as the very best of Bewick's cuts," says : " The 
tail-pieces in the first edition of the ' Birds,' are, 
taken all together, the best that are to be found 

Digitized by LnOOQ IC 


in all of Bewick's works, but although it is not 
unlikely he suggested the subjects, there is rea- 
son to believe that many of them were drawn by 
Robert Johnson, and there cannot be a doubt 
that the greater number of these contained in 
the second volume were engraved by Luke Clen- 
nell ; " both were Bewick's apprentices, and it is 
more than probable that in the drawing and en- 
graving he received considerable assistance from 
these pupils, who afterwards became distin- 

Johnson was a draughtsman of great promise, 
but lived only a short time after the expiration of 
his apprenticeship. 

Clennell's cuts are noted for the freedom with 
which they are executed, although many of them 
are rather coarsely engraved. His largest cut 
was engraved for the diploma of the Highland 
Society. It was ten and a half by thirteen and 
a half inches in size. The block upon which he 
first began to engrave this cut consisted of a sur- 
face of boxwood, veneered upon beech. After 
having spent two months' time on the engraving, 
the block suddenly split in such a manner as to 
be worthless. After a few days, however, he had 
a solid block of boxwood prepared, the design 
redrawn, and pushed the work on to completion. 

For this engraving he received a hundred and 
fifty guineas and a gold medal from the Society 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


for the Encouragement of Arts and Manufac- 

Clennell's fellow-pupils were Henry Hale and 
Edward Willis. Among the prominent engrav- 
ers of that time, who were also under Bewick's 
instruction, may be mentioned William Harvey, 
who was a great favorite of Bewick ; John Be- 
wick, a younger brother of Thomas; Charlton 
Nesbit ; W. W. Temple, and others of less note. 

John Bewick as a designer and engraver was 
much inferior to his brother ; although many of 
his cuts possess considerable merit, the greater 
part of them are executed in a harsh, stiff manner, 
and are easily distinguished from his brother's, 
on account of the intense contrasts of positive 
black with pure white. 

Contemporary with Bewick was Robert Bran- 
ston, William Hughes, and Hugh Hughes, all re- 
markably proficient in the art, yet it is conceded 
that his masterpieces have not been surpassed 
by them nor by any English engravers of a later 
date, not excepting Thompson, Jackson, Williams, 
Landells, White, Linton, Martin, Whymper, 
Powis, and others of equal rank. The service 
rendered his country and the whole world in re- 
viving the art of engraving after two centuries 
of decadence entitle him to the distinction of 
being the father of modern pictorial illustrations 
in books and periodicals, and such is the esteem 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


in which he is held, that collections of his books, 
blocks, autographs, etc., bring large sums of 
money ; the collection of the late Thomas Hugo 
realizing over five thousand dollars. 

Since the time of Bewick the art has flourished 
without interruption, and at the present time it 
seems to be at the zenith of success, for never 
before has there been such a demand for elab- 
orate and costly wood engravings ; they are to 
be found everywhere — in publications of the 
most expensive kind, in magazines, papers, and 
books. The comparative cheapness and superi- 
ority of this class of engravings for books has 
led largely to their use, to the exclusion of steel 
and copper plates. 

d by Google 


EFORE explaining the process of 
wood engi'aving, let us first con- 
'sider what this term implies, and 
in what respect it differs from other 
kinds of engraving. 

Engraving on wood is the pro- 
cess of cutting away all the parts 
that have not been drawn upon. 
(See Figs. 12 and 13). It does 
not include ornamental carving on wood, but only 
such as is used in printing. The lines which in 
wood engraving are left standing, in copper 
plate and steel are cut in the plate, the process 
being exactly the reverse ; and, as a natural con- 
sequence, the printing is done in a different man- 
ner. The plate being warmed, and the ink 
rubbed into the engraved lines or grooves, the 
surface wiped and polished, the card or paper is 
then laid on, and pressed into the inked lines by 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


means of a copper plate press. In printing a 
wood cut, the surface is inked, the same as ordi- 
nary type, by the use of a roller, and printed on a 
common type press, usually with reading matter 
set up in the same form, the wood being type- 

Fig. 12. The Drawing. Fig. 13. The Engbayikg. 


Several kinds of wood are used, boxwood for 
all fine work, American rock-maple, mahogany 
and pine for coarse. 

Most of the boxwood used is imported from 
Turkey for this purpose. It has the closest grain 
of any wood now known, is light-colored, and will 
hold a fine, clear line. 

The engraving is made on the end of the grain. 
To prepare the wood for use, it is sawed from the 
log, in pieces an inch in thickness, as indicated in 
Fig. 14. The pieces are then made exactly type- 
Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 



high, by the use of planes and scrapers, produc- 
ing a smooth, level surface. 

Fig. 14. Boxwood Loo in Sections. 

In most of our large cities there are dealers 
who prepare and furnish woo/i of any size. 

Large blocks which require much piecing are 
usually bolted and jointed together. These can 
be made of any required size, with the additional 
advantage that different parts of the drawing 
may be simultaneously engraved by different 
engravers, and afterwards bolted together. In 
this way illustrated papers are enabled to produce, 
in a day's time, a picture on which a single en- 
graver might work for weeks. 


' 1 

1 1 

1 1 

1 1 


^ r 


1 1 

1 1 

1 1 


Figs. 15 and 16. Back View of Bolted Block. 

Fig. 15 shows the back view of a bolted block, 
screwed up by means of bolts and nuts. The 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 



front surface is, of course, smooth and even, and 
prepared to receive the drawing. 

Fig. 16 shows the mode of separating the parts 
which are connected by bolts. At the lines A A 
the parts are permanently joined with glue, being 
either do welled or amalgamated, as shown in Figs. 
17 and 18, and are not intended to be separated. 



Pig. 17. DOWELLBD. 

Fig. 18. Amalgamated. 

Care should be taken, in selecting wood, to 
have it free from red streaks and black or white 
spots. The first two mentioned are no indication 
of poor wood, and seldom trouble the engraver, 
but they are unpleasant to the draughtsman, by 
reason of the color. The white spots indicate 
rotten wood, which crumbles away, and cannot 
be engraved upon. In selecting wood, choose a 
pale yellow or straw color, free from blemishes. 

d by Google 




A complete set of tools comprises six gravers, 
twelve tint-tools, three scoopers and two chisels. 

The gravers, or lozenge-shaped tools, are evenly 
graduated from fine to coarse, as represented in 
Fig. 19. These, being nearly square in shape, 
enable the engraver to vary the width of the 
lines from a very fine one to one quite coarse. 




V V V 

A A 

Fig. 19. Gbayebs. 

The tint-tools are used in cutting tints, such 
as skies and flat surfaces (Fig. 20), the finest 
tool, from which the rest are graduated, being 
80 thin that the line it makes is scarcely visible 
in printing. 

Scoopers, or digging-away tools, are three in 
number, and are rounded on the bottom (see 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 



Fig. 21), No. 11 being a size larger than the 
largest tint-tool used. They are employed in 
clearing away all the wood not drawn upon. 

Fig. 20. Tint-Tools. 

Notwithstanding the work to be done with these 
tools is coarse and rough, yet a good degree of 
skill is required to use them properly, as the dead 





Fig. 21. SCOOPERS. 

Fig. 22. Chisels. 

wood must be removed from the lines without 
bruising them, thus securing clear, sharp lines in 

d by Google 


The two chisels (Fig. 22) are used in cutting 
away and leveling the surface when necessary. 

Fig. 23. Graver ready for Use. 

Handles may be made of cork or wood, and 

Fig. 24. ENaBAYiNO Executed with one Tool. 

E, F; the tint-tools and scoopers, 1, 2, 3, etc., 
and the chisels, I, II. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


For beginners only a small number of tools are 
necessary, as additions can be made as fast as 
needed. The following selection is sufficient to 
commence with : Three gravers, A, D, and F ; 
five tint-tools, 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8 ; two scoopers and 
one chisel. 

A great variety of work may be done with a 
small number of tools. As an illustration, Fig. 
24 was engraved entirely with one medium-sized 

In addition to the tools, the following articles 
are necessary : 

1. Engraving-pad. 

2. Shade for the eyes, 

3. Engraving-glass and standard. 

4. Oil stone. 
6. Ink dabber. 

6. Box of wood-cut ink. 

7. Burnisher. 

8. Small saw. 

9. Chip brush. 

10, India paper for taking proofs. 

The engraving-pad should be of good, smooth 
leather, and filled with fine sand. If well filled, the 
block can be turned easily upon it, and tie longer 
it is used, the more readily it will adapt itself to 
the block. 

A green shade should be worn, to protect the 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 



eyes from too strong a glare of light from over- 


Most engravers use a magnifying-glass of mod- 
erate power; more for relieving the eyes from 
the strain of keeping them fixed on a small object 
than for magnifying the work. It should be from 
an inch and a quarter to two inches in diameter. 

A standard, for holding the glass, is made as 
shown in Pig. 27, the base being of iron or lead^ 
so that it may not be easily overturned. 


Fig. 27. Eye -Glass and Stand. 

An Arkansas oil-stone is sufficient for keeping 
the tools sharp after being ground on a common 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


grindstone. To sharpen them properly, a few 
drops of oil should be put on the oil-stone, and 
the tool rubbed back and forth, great care being 
taken to hold it steadily, thus securing an even 
cutting edge. 

Fig. 28. Akole at which Tools should be Qbound. 

The ink-dabber is a pad, made of fine calf-skin, 
properly filled, and the leather so firmly drawn 

Fig. 29. INK-DABBEB. Fig. 30. OlL-STOXE. 

that no wrinkles will form on its surface while 
being used. 

Fig. 31. Burnisher. 

For an ink-slab take a smooth stone-slab, or 
plate of thick glass, or a piece of engraver's wood^ 
or anything having a smooth surface, upon which 
to distribute the ink. 

For proof-taking, the best wood-cut ink should 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


be used, keeping it in a small box having a close- 
fitting cover to protect it from the dust. India 
paper, and a burnisher for taking the impressions 

Fig. 32. Chip-brush. 

of engravings, a soft brush for clearing away 
small chips, and a fine saw for cutting off plugs, 
complete the list of necessary articles for en- 

Rg. 33. Saw for Cutting off Plugs. 


In making a drawing on the block, the following 
articles are used : 

1. Piece of pumice stone. 

2. Cake of beeswax, 

3. Cake of Chinese or flake white. 

4. Small camel's-hair brush. 
6. Transparent tracing-paper. 
6. Case of pencils. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


7. Tracing-point. 

8. T square. 

9. Ruler. 

10. Pencil-dividers. 

11. Cake of Indian ink. 

12. Parallel rule. 

Although drawing on the wood and wood 
engraving are not commonly done by the same 
person, yet it is very important for the beginner 

Fig. 34. Pumice-Stone. Fig. 35. Chinese White. 

to be able to make his own drawings. It is true 
he may secure a better result by employing a 
draughtsman, but he should make it a part of the 
instruction in engraving; for, with a knowledge 
of drawing, acquired by its practice in connection 
with engraving, he will better understand the 
drawings of others, and will more readily give 
the spirit of the artist's meaning. 

Wood, as prepared for the engraver, has a 
polished surface, too smooth for drawing upon 
with a pencil. To give it the required surface, 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


moisten the face of the block, and rub it with the 
flat surface of a piece of pumice stone, being sure 
first that the stone is even and free from grit. 
When the gloss has thus been removed, and the 
little scratches on the surface taken out, brush off 
with the hand whatever adheres to it, and, with a 
camel's-hair brush, moisten the surface with Chi- 
nese or flake-white mixed with water, and rub in 
briskly with the fingers, trying to secure an even 
coating. When it is dry it forms an excellent 
tooth for the pencil. Care should be taken to use 
as little water upon the block as possible, as it 
may cause it to warp. 

In order to produce the drawing on the block, 
a sketch or design is first made on paper, unless 
you have a photograph or a picture of the exact 
size you wish. Place thin tracing-paper over the 
copy, fastening it securely at the corners to keep 
it in place, and with a soft pencil kept sharp at 
the point, trace a clear outline. Fasten the 
tracing-paper to the block, face downwards, by 
means of beeswax rubbed on the sides. With a 
tracing-point retrace the lines so that they will be 
visible on the block. Remove the paper, and with 
a H H H H H H pencil strengthen the outline, cor- 
recting and improving the picture as you proceed. 
The drawing may then be shaded in with a soft 
pencil or Indian ink, according to the taste and 
skill of the learner. 

Digitized by LnOOQ IC 



To prepare the Indian ink for use, take a 
saucer containing a small quantity of water, hold 
the cake in a horizontal position in the saucer, 

Fig. 36. Cake of Indian Ink. 

rubbing it briskly until the water assumes the 
desired color. In the drawing, accuracy of out- 

Fig. 37. Tracing-Point. Fig. 38. Pencil-Dividers. 

Digitized byCjOOQlC 


line must be observed, for every defect in the 
outline is more apparent in the engraving when 

In drawings where curved lines or circles are 
introduced, a pair of pencil-dividers is necessary 
for drawing even lines. They will be found use- 
ful not only in describing circles, but for taking 
measurements, and for a variety of other uses. 


Fig. 39. T Square. 

A small T square and a parallel rule are also 
needed, for drawing parallel or vertical lines 

Fig. 40. Parallel Rule. 

It is usual to cover the drawing with tissue 
paper while the engraving is in progress, to 
prevent it from being soiled or the sharpness of 
the lines destroyed. To do this, cut a piece of 
paper a little larger than the block, rub the 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


edges of the block with beeswax, cover it with 
the paper, drawing it tightly over and burnishing 
it on the waxed edges. The covering is then cut 
open at the point where the engraver is to com- 
mence, and the opening enlarged as fast a^ re- 


Fig. 41. 

In making an exact copy of a wood-cut, steel 
or lithographic print, the labor of drawing is 
saved by transferring it to the block in the fol- 
lowing manner: The block is prepared by the 
use of the pumice stone and water without being 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


whitened. Place the print from which the trans- 
fer is to be made in an earthen plate, and pour 
over it a preparation, made by dissolving caustic 
potash in alcohol ; allow it to remain about a 
minute, until the ink is softened ; rinse the liquid 
off by dipping it in clear water; absorb the 
water by touching the lower edge of the print 
to a piece of blotting-paper ; lay the print on the 
block, and subject it to the pressure of a print- 
ing-press, which will, if properly done, reproduce 
the picture. 

Photography has of late years been extensively 
employed in producing pictures on the block, 
where drawings or transfers are impracticable, or 
where a photograph answers the purpose equaUy 
well at a much less expense. 

A photograph on the wood is engraved in the 
same manner as a drawing on wood. In many 
of the illustrated magazines of the present day 
the original designs are first drawn upon paper, 
quite large, and afterwards photographed on the 
block reduced to the required size. In the same 
way machinery, furniture, buildings, landscapes, 
etc., may be faithfully reproduced on the block, 
and a more accurate result secured than if en- 
graved from a drawing, although in working 
from a photograph greater skill and judgment is 
required to produce an effective cut. 

To put a photograph on wood the assistance of 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


a photographer is necessary, as it requires a 
negative suitable for the purpose, and a knowl- 
edge of the process which can only be gained by 

In most of our large cities there are artists 
who make a specialty of this kind of work for 
wood engravers. 

Fig. 42. The Pantograph. 

Where it is necessary to enlarge or reduce a 
picture before drawing upon the block, and the 
services of a photographer cannot be easily 
secured, it may be accomplished by the use of 
the Pantograph, a simple and inexpensive instru- 
ment, of great practical value to the designer or 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 



The drawing, photograph or transfer being 
prepared on the block, the next thing to be 
observed is the mode of sitting at the table and 
holding the work. The block should rest upon 
the pad at such an elevation as to allow the 
learner to sit erect while at work. Hold the block, 

Fig. 43. Engraver at Work. 

not too tightly, with the thumb and forefinger 
of the left hand, so it may be easily moved around, 
or turned, on the pad. With the right hand the 
graver is held, the handle resting in the palm. 
The graver is then pushed forward with the 
thumb and forefinger, guided by the thumb rest- 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 



ing on the surface of the block, as in Fig. 44, or 
against the side, as in Fig. 45. 

Fig. 44. 

Fig. 45. 

Various contrivances have been devised for 
protecting the eyes when working at night by 
lamplight. One of the best is that which not 
only protects the eyes by softening the light, but 
shields the face from the heat of the lamp. This 
consists of a large glass globe filled with clear 
water, and placed in such a position as to allow 
the light to pass through it and fall upon the 
block, as in Fig. 46. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


The German student lamp is best for the pur- 
pose as its light can be regulated according to 
the convenience of the engraver, on account of 
its being movable on the iron standard. 

Fig. 46. 

Some engravers use the bull's-eye lens, which is 
a good reflector, and can be easily adjusted to an 
ordinary lamp. 

d by Google 




OR tli« first lesson in engraving a 
few diagrams are given, which 
will enable the learner to get the 
use of the tools somewhat, before 
attempting more complicated out- 
line cuts. 

The lines should be carefully 
outlined with a fine tint-tool. After 
the outline is finished on the inside take a 
wider tool, and carefully cut the wood away from 
the lines; then outline the outside, leaving an 
even width of line, and cut away as before ; 
afterwards with a wide scooper clear away the 
remaining wood. 

When finished, a proof may be taken, and the 
lines trimmed up where irregular. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 



To take a proof, first put a small quantity of 
ink on the dabber, and beat it upon the slab until 
the ink is evenly distributed ; the subject en- 
graved should then be dabbed until a sufficient 
quantity is left upon its surface ; a piece of India 
paper a little larger than the face of the block is 
laid upon the engraving, a thin card laid upon 
that, and then burnished over with a paper-folder 

Fig. 48. 

until a good impression of the cut is taken. The 
engraver's prints should be superior to those 
taken by a pressman. Light and delicate por- 
tions of an engraving should be rubbed very 
gently, and the darker parts brought out by a 
heavier pressure. 

The beginner will find it pleasant to keep proofs 
of his work, and, by comparison, observe the 
progress made. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 



After engraving the diagrams, each in their 
order, a careful drawing may be made of the 
outline subject. Fig. 60. In the engraving, com- 
mence at the top of the drawing, and outline 
with tint-tool, being careful to leave as much 
surface as the pencil lines cover. After out- 

Fig. 49. Figure Outlined. Fig. 50. Figure Finished. 

lining, clear away the wood, being careful not 
to bruise the lines with the under part of the 
tool. To guard against this, a thick card may 
be placed under the tool. 

The next subjects. Figs. 51 and 52, introduce 
more variety, and the learner is now prepared to 
bring into use the experience gained in the pre- 
vious lesson. The same directions should be fol- 
lowed as in the previous cuts, observing the 
difference in the strength of line and the variety 
of outline. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


Fig. 51. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


Fig. 52. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 



Having acquired some degree of freedom in 
the use of the tools, before commencing on shaded 
pictures attention should be given to cutting 
tints. The future success of the pupil depends 
very much on his skill in tint cutting; and 
although it may at first seem tedious, yet if 
persistently and patiently practised it will result 
in great benefit to him. This stage of engraving 
is so important that it should receive the most 
careful attention. A good rule for the learner 
is to keep constantly on hand a block on which 
to engrave tints, and to give some portion of 
each day for the practice of this particular style 
of work. 

To engrave a flat tint, take a small piece of box- 
wood, wash the surface with Indian ink, and when 
dry draw very light parallel lines about one- 
fourth of an inch apart; select a medium-sized 
tint-tool; place the block on the pad, as in Fig. 
44 ; commence near the right-hand upper corner, 
directly under the first pencil line ; guide the 
tool with the thumb and forefinger, and cut a 
line slowly and as straight as possible across the 
block, being careful to cut an even depth of line. 
In cutting the second line, place the tool the 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


width of the line to be engraved below, and push 
it forward slowly, in short strokes, until the line 

Fig. 53. Light Tint. 

is finished, aiming to leave the line as wide 
throughout as at the beginning. 

Fig. M. Dark Tlst. 

It is not probable that the leanier will succeed 
in keeping the tool from going upward, thus 
making the line thinner, or downward, making it 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


thicker ; but by following the directions closely 
he may succeed in making a fair line. 

Fig. 55. Graduated Tint. 

Cut every line carefully, without minding the 
time it takes, giving more attention to quality 

Fig. 56. Cloud Tint. 

than quantity. If the lines commence running 
up or down, stop immediately, and commence 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


again under the next pencil line, improving by 
observing the faults of the previous attempt. 

When finished, take the dabber, and with a 
small quantity of ink, distributed on the ink-slab 
as explained, beat the block lightly, as in taking 
proofs, which will show the quality of the work; 
with A finer tool than before, go over the 
work. Where the lines are too thick, take a thin 
shaving off the upper or the lower side of the 
line, or both, in such a way as to leave it straight 
and even, being careful not to make the lines too 
thin by removing too much. Where the lines 
are too thin they cannot be remedied, and should 
be let alone. 

By using different sized tint-tools a variety of 
tints may be cut ; also, with the same tool more 
surface of line may be left, and thus a darker 
tint produced. 

After sufficient practice in cutting flat tints 
proceed with graduated tints, which are pro- 
duced by varying both the width of line and 
the. distance apart. 

Plain tints are used to represent sky and all 
flat surfaces; the graduated tints, for cylinders 
and round surfaces. But tints vary, according 
to the taste of the engraver and the subject to be 
engraved. Especially does this apply to skies 
and cloud work, an illustration of which is given. 
It is formed of lines carefully blended together 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


with fin^ gravers. To do this skilfully, the 
tools used must be kept sharp, which, with 
artistic feeling on the part of the pupil, will 
insure a good result; and the means by which 
it is accomplished cannot be detected without 
the closest examination. 

To make a drawing of the sky tint, trace the 
darker portions of the cloud work, and offset it 
lightly on the block with the burnisher ; then go 
over the whole surface with a very light coating 
of Indian ink. When dry, go over all the darker 
parts with a second coat, repeating the process 
if necessary until the light and shade in the draw- 
ing compares with the copy. Then with a brush 
wash in the high lights with Chinese white. 

In the engraving, first remove the high lights 
with a small scooper, then cut the dark parts with 
a fine graver, and vary the size of the tool ac- 
cording to the shading, the closest attention being 
paid to the copy. 

At this stage of engraving it is well to consider 
how to remedy mistakes, commonly called slips, 
which are liable to be made, especially before the 
learner acquires the use of the tools; but they 
should be guarded against until they very rarely 

When it is necessary to plug a block, first 
consider how much of the surrounding surface 
must be taken out to make a close joint which 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 



will not show when printed. A hole is then 
made in the block with a gimlet, or steel point, 
and a round, tapering plug formed, a trifle larger 

Fig. 67. Section of Block, showing Plug. 

than the hole, and driven like a wedge, so as to 
fit closely all around. When this is done, saw 
off the plug with a small watch-spring saw, having 

Fig. 58. Method of Lowebino Plug. 

first placed a piece of writing-paper on the block 
to protect the work ; this being done, the plug is 
shaved down even with the surface, by the use 
of a very sharp, wide chisel, care being taken not 
to shave it lower than the surface, as it would 
then be necessary to re-plug the block. 

d by Google 



In portrait engraving a large amount of prac- 
tice is necessary to enable the beginner to pre- 
serve the expression of the face by leaving a 
sufficient amount of color in all the principal 
features, such as the eyes, nose, and the under 
part of the lips. While engraving, bear in mind 
that cutting away and weakening the color in the 
features cannot be easily remedied, but if the 
parts are too dark they can be readily lightened. 
To be a successful portrait engraver, one's whole 
time and attention should be given to this branch 
of the art. 

In the two examples given a variety of work 
is introduced. The flesh tint in Fig. 59 is a good 
illustration of white cross-lining, which is the 
opposite of black cross-lining, or cross-hatching, 
and is produced by cutting ordinary lines, to 
conform to the surface of the face, which are 
afterwards cross-lined, the same rule being ob- 
served in making the lines conform to the surface 
of the face, which gives it increased roundness 
and finish. These rules apply not only to face 
tints, but to flesh tints generally. Fig. 60 shows 
the delicacy and roundness of the face and hands, 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


Fig. 59. 



d by Google [ 


Fig. 60. 

d by Google 


the free and wavy character of the hair, and the 
variety of drapery. 

The methods employed in cutting portraits are 
so varied that it would be advisable to collect and 
study the different styles, and select the best 
subjects for practice. 

When the subject is to be copied from a 
photograph or carte-de-visite, the services of the 
photographer should be called into use, and the 
subject photographed on the block, thus giving 
all the features in the minutest detail. 

By a careful study of engraved portraits the 
learner should make himself familiar with the 
mode by which the form of the features is pre- 
served. After this has been done, if prepared to 
carry out the instructions with judgment, and 
with a definite object in ^dew, he will, in a meas- 
ure, be successful. But if there is any uncertainty 
about the proper way to treat a portrait, do not 
attempt it until by further observation and study 
the way is made clear. 


Landscape engraving requires a considerable 
amount of artistic skill on the part of the engraver 
in order to produce the ever-varying character of 
the objects composing the picture. 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


The beginner should study each and all of the 
separate parts, giving them the closest attention 
while cutting ; for however nicely the work may 
be done, if there is no thought expressed, no ap- 

Fig. 61. Wood Scene. 

parent understanding of the character or texture 
of the parts, the attempt will result in failure. 
It wQuld ybe much better to leave the engraving 
in an unfinished state than to work upon it with- 
out meaning. It would be better still to give the 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


natural form and appearance without too much 
regard to the smoothness of finish. 

In the first example given we have a good sub- 
ject, a native forest clad in the luxuriant foliage 

Fig. 62. Rocks and Water. 

of early summer. The effect of coolness, which is 
suggested in the shades, and the warmth of sun- 
light streaming through the branches, are pro- 
duced by a judicious use of the graver. The 
means by which the feeling is introduced will be 
seen by observing the style of cutting in the 

In the next engraving of rocks and water it 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 


will be noticed that the rocks in the distance are 
cut more delicately than in the foreground, the 
same rule being observed in the treatment of the 
sky and foliage in contrast with the foreground, 
the lines of which have more strength and char- 


Flowers and leaves are usually represented in 
delicate tints. In Figs. 63 and 64 we have two 
good subjects for practice, — the one a well- 
arranged bouquet, made up of a variety of flowers 
and leaves, and the other a basket-bouquet. The 
cuts of squash and sweet-corn are intended to 
show the difference between qualities and textures 
of articles of this classy and the difference of 
treatment in cutting. 

d by Google 


Fig. 63. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 




:^^^.' t 

(•I TII£ 

'' '7 y 

Fig. G4. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


Fig. 65. 

Fig. 66. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 



The examples here given (Figs. 67 and 68) 
show with what ease effects of light and shade 
are produced in wood engravings. Figs. 69 and 
70 are more elaborate, showing the adaptability 
of this style of cutting to ornamental designs. 

Fig. 67. Design in White. Fig 68. Design in Black. 

A similar effect is observable in the cuts of sil- 
ver ware and jewelry. Figs. 71, 72, and 73. These 
will be found good subjects for practice. By 
noticing what produces a good effect, and attend- 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


Fig. 69. 

Fig. 70. ^ I 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


Fig. 71. 

Fig. 72. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 



Digitized byLnOOQlC 


ing to the faults in his work, the learner will 
improve and from his experience learn to avoid 
futuie mistakes. 


requires the same outlining and cutting away as 
in other outline engravings, the greatest care to 
be exercised while removing the wood to avoid 
breaking down the lines that are to be left in 
relief. Figs. 74 and 75 require much greater 
skill in the cutting than Fig. 76, the delicate hair 
lines being as sharp as it is possible to engf ave 

In reproducing a finely written autograph, the 
light lines should be made even lighter than in 
the copy, for when subjected to the pressure of 
the printing-press they will appear stronger than 
in the original. The curves should be free and 
natural, and the heavy strokes not too heavy. 
The original should be kept at hand for constant 
reference while the work is in progress. 

Under the head of 


a few samples are given. Fig. 80, composed 
largely of fine lines, and 82, heavier in style, are 
both suitable for marking clothing, or for orna- 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 



Fig. 74. 

Fig. 75. 

Fig. 76. 

d by Google 



Fig. 77. 

Fig. 78. 

Fig. 79. 

Fig. 80. 

Fig. 81. 

Fig. 83. 

Fig. 82. 




mental chapter headings ; 78 and 84 for handker- 
chief monograms ; 77, 79, 83, and 85 for circular 
headings, etc. ; 81 as a seal. 


should be designed with reference to the purpose 
or use for which they are intended as well as for 

Fig. 86. 

the manner in which they are to be printed. To 
illustrate : Fig. 86 is designed for an axe label, 
and in order to look well should be printed in 
bronze on steel-blue paper. Any additional fine 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


Fig. 87. 

d by Google 


work on such a label would only detract from 
its neatness. 

Fig. 87 is a reduced copy of a large show-card. 
The appropriateness of the design will be readily 

Fig. 88. 

seen. It appears well either in plain black or in 

By observing the general design of labels on 
the different classes of manufactured goods, some 
practical knowledge may be acquired which 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


d by Google 


Fig. •>!'. 

^i«- 9^- Digitized by Google 


will prove useful when work of this kind is 
called for. 

In representing Stoves, of which there are an 
infinite variety of patterns, the best and surest 
way is to work from a photograph, either making 
a careful drawing on the wood from the photo- 
graph, or having it photographed directly on the 
block. A common fault with engravers is that 
of introducing too much shading underneath 
stoves, as it tends to destroy the sharpness of 
outline, and does not appear well in ordinary 
printing. A slight shade is sufficient in most 
cases. Another point should be noticed in the 
engraving of cook-stoves. The stove-lids, or 
openings on the top for kettles, boilers, etc., 
which are almost invariably shown in perspec- 
tive, should be drawn or engraved with no per- 
ceptible deviation from the copy. Should these 
parts be out of drawing, the stove-top will appear 
warped and distorted when the cut is finished. 

The body, or upright surfaces of stoves, espe- 
cially where the form is cylindrical, should be 
represented by vertical lines, and the top surfaces, 
if flat, by horizontal. 

Figs. 88 and 89 are introduced as examples of 
this class of work. 

d by Google 


In the engraving of Fubnitubb, Organs, etc., 
the style of work does not differ essentially from 
that on stoves, and the same general directions 
may be followed to advantage. 


should not be composed too largely of flat tints. 
The parts exposed to the light should be broken 
up by introducing the proper amount of effect, 
the same principle applying to the cloud work, 
ground, and foliage. This done, and a few figures 
introduced will not fail of producing a lively 
picture. A good idea of the effect desired may 
be gained by observing the rule by which the 
artist determines the tints of nature. It may be 
that with eyes wide open you cannot detect color 
or shade on the face of a building exposed to a 
strong light, but when you almost close your eye- 
lids the scene changes, the minute detail of the 
picture is lost, and you have in its place simply 
the effect. Such a study of the windows, cor- 
nices, and other projections will suggest new 
methods of treatment. 

d by Google 


Fig. 92. 

Correct perspective is another thing to be ob- 
served, for if this be rightly managed, even a 
plain and unpretentious building may be made 
to assume a substantial appearance. 

d by Google 



Wood-ciits of 


should be engraved from a photograph whenever 
it is possible to obtain them. Drawings made 
from sketches are seldom satisfactory, as the pro- 
portions cannot be so accurately preserved, and 
the several parts are liable to appear clumsy. 
Defects of this kind in form or outline are quickly 
detected by mechanics, and a wrong impression 
of the merits of the machine sometimes conveyed 
when the fault is wholly in the cut. 

In order to become a good machine-engraver, 
constant practice and a careful study of the work 
of first-class engravers is necessary. 

The beginner would do well to make a collec- 
tion of machine-prints, preserving them in a 
scrap-book for future reference. Sometimes it is 
necessary to break away portions of a machine 
where the construction is such as to hide the 
parts to be represented, in which case the inter- 
vening portions may be shown broken-open, as 
m Fig. 94. 

d by Google 


Pig. 93. MACmNEBY. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


Pig. 9*. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 



are often difficult subjects to represent naturally. 
The varied plumage of birds, and the great dif- 
ference between qualities and textures in the 

Fig. 95. 

covering of animals, give a wide range for the 
display of the engraver's skill. j 

Pigs. 95 and 96 are introduced as subjects for m 


d by Google 


Fig. 96. 


The practice of printing wood-cuts in colors, 
from different blocks, originated towards the 
close of the sixteenth century. It was discovered 
by Albert Dtlrer, who found the art of wood- 
engraving in its infancy. 

The invention was used at that time principally 
in ornamental designs, but has now attained a 
high degree of perfection, being used not only in 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 

Fig. 98. 

\ f f f t ▼ /" 

Fig. »9. 

Fig. 97. 

• • • 

^ • • • ^ 

Fig. 100. 

Fig. 101. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 



Digitized byLnOOQlC 


common merchandise labels and ornamental de- 
signs, but in the finest book illustrations. 

Before commencing a color engraving it is 
desirable to make a (Complete design in colors, 
from which to copy the engraving. From this 
draw and engrave the principal block ; then take 
a proof, and transfer to another block, from 
which cut away all except the portions necessary 
to print the next color; proceed in the same 
manner with the remaining colors, transfers being 
taken from the principal block for each color. 
As an illustration, the blocks used in the accom- 
panying color design (Fig. 97) are shown sepa- 

In printing, the lightest blocks are printed first, 
and the principal, or black, last. Each should 
register perfectly. 

In order to better understand the relation of 
one color to another, we start out with the sim- 
ple theory advanced by Sir Isaac Newton, that 
there are three colors, and only three. These are 
called primary colors, because they are original, 
self-existent, and cannot be produced by any 
combinations. Their names are blue, red, and 
yellow. Notwithstanding the simplicity and 
clearness of this system, it has been attacked by 
scientific men, and important changes suggested ; , 

yet it has been believed in and agreed to by all m 

painters of all countries. 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 


As much of the beauty of color engraving de- 
pends upon the knowledge and taste shown in 
the arrangement of the colors, it is well in this 
connection to give considerable attention to the 
harmony and contrast of colors. A few hints 
may help the leanier in the grouping of his 

First, let it be remembered that the three 
primary colors cannot be used in close proximity 
without injurious effects. The primary of first 
importance is 

Bhie. It may be largely used in nice color- 
work. Its most perfect harmonies are those 
shades of itself which are produced by mixing it 
with white or black. Its contrasting color is 

Bed^ the second primary, has green for its 
contrasting color, and orange and crimson for its 

Yellmo has purple for its contrast, and lighter 
sliades of itself and orange for its most perfect 

A word of caution in regard to the use of 
green may not be out of place. It is often too 
freely used with other colors on account of its 
lighting-up power. It should be sparingly used 
in color-work, and then not for its own value, 
but for its effect upon other tints. 

Oold is often used in the place of yellow ; and 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 



a very common combination is that of blue, red, 
and gold. 

Oray is in harmony with brilliant hues of blue 
and crimson, and may be introduced into almost 
any combination with safety. 

Fig. 102. 

A better idea of the harmony and contrast of 
colors may be derived from a study of the Color- 
circle Diagram^ which will be useful to refer to 
from time to time. To illustrate its use, take 


Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


red for an example ; opposed to it we find green 
in contrast. This rule applies to the other pri- 
maries, and to the half-way colors as well, their 
opposites being a perfect contrast. 

To determine harmony, take green as an ex- 
ample. Moving along the inner circle on either 
side of green, we find the harmonies decrease as 
we proceed, until we reach its most imperfect 
ones, blue-purple and yellow-orange. Still mov- 
ing along both sides of the circle, the colors grow 
more and more pleasing, until we reach its most 
perfect contrast, red. 

The study of colors will prove a fascinating 
one the more the subject is looked into. 

Color designs collected and preserved • in a 
scrap-book for reference will prove of value to 
the learner ; also the habit of experimenting and 
noting the combinations which are most pleasing. 
In this way he will find pleasant exercise for his 
designing powers. 

d by Google 



The invention of Electrotyping, by which 
wood-cuts and type are reproduced, is compara- 
tively recent, although experiments in electro- 
plating were made in Europe from 1801 to 1S46 
with more or less success. 

It is a chemical and mechanical operation com- 
bined, and is performed in the following manner : 
A mould is made of pure wax, upon which the 
wood-cut is impressed by means of a press of suf- 
ficient power to bring out even the finest lines ; 
the mould is then covered with a fine coating of 
plumbago, which is evenly distributed by brushes, 
thus giving a conducting medium for the electric 
current, which is further strengthened by a wash 
of sulphate of copper, thus covering the entire 
surface with a thin film, and hastening the de- 
posit of copper. The wires from an electro-mag- 
netic battery are attached to the mould, which is 
then suspended from a metal rod in a trough 
containing a solution of acidulated sulphate of 
copper ; copper plates are suspended in the solu- 
tion, which face the mould but do not touch it ; 
the rods are connected with the battery by wires ; 
and when the circuit of electricity is completed 
the copper plate is rapidly decomposed and de- 
posited on the face of the mould; in ten or 


Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


twelve hours a copper shell is formed, which, on 
being removed from the mould, receives a coat- 
ing of chloride of zinc ; melted type-metal is then 
poured or dipped into the shell, and, after cool- 
ing, the face is laid on a perfectly level iron 
plate, and the superfluous type-metal planed off, 
and the plate squared and trinmied up, and 
screwed on blocks of wood, which bring them to 
the height of type. 

It is best to have a wood-cut electrotyped be- 
fore printing from it, and to preserve the engrav- 
ing, from which electrotypes may at any time be 


Having given, in a few lessons, directions as 
simple and practical as possible, it now remains 
for the learner to make the best use of the infor- 
mation given, and according to his own aptness 
and diligent application will he be able to en- 
grave well in a longer or shorter time. Perfec- 
tion in engraving is never reached, and the best 
engravers see higher and better results to be at- 
tained. Then set your standard high ; let no 
opportunity for acquiring information pass unim- 
proved ; learn something new from every attempt ; 

Digitized by V^jOOQ IC 


be ^ot easily satisfied with your own engraving, 
but strive to remedy its faults. 

With the hope that these suggestions may be 
of value, and that the instruction herein con- 
tained may serve the purpose intended, we leave 
our readers to achieve the success which perse- 
verance and a love of the art will insure. 

d by Google 


A ttd others in need of tools and appliances for Drawing or 
Engravings can order from Mr. EMERSON, with the 
assurance of getting what they need, as he is a practical 
engraver, and experienced in selecting engravers* outfits. 
For his new revised price-list^ address 


No. 352 Main Street, 


d by Google 

d by Google 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 

YB 79988 

Digitized byLnOOQlC 

d by Google